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Video: Exploring the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone

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My friend Sergey has posted a new video showing exploration of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, showing some abandoned villages. In this short video, you can definitely get a feel for the eerie silence that permeates the Zone.


This video shows a large number of catfish that live in the cooling pond at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. In the video, you can also see an albino catfish.

These catfish are huge, but their size has nothing to do with radiation or contamination within the cooling pond. They are large because there are no predators in the pond and they eat very well.

A popular local tradition during many trips to Chernobyl is to stop at the small store/bar in Chernobyl town and purchase loaves of bread. After arriving at the Chernobyl Nuclear Plant, visitors can step onto a small bridge, break off large chunks of bread and feed the catfish.

For more information about wildlife in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, visit http://www.chornobyl.in.ua



The following short video (in Russian) discusses plant mutations in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone's Red Forest.

The Red Forest was an area decimated by radioactive fallout from the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear accident. It is called the Red Forest because of the ginger-brown color of the pine trees after they died following exposure to high amounts of radiation. During cleanup operations, the Red Forest was completely bulldozed and buried in trenches.

In the past 23 years, a new pine forest has emerged, but remains highly contaminated. My friend Sergey has posted more information about the current status of the Red Forest in English at http://www.chornobyl.in.ua/en/red_forest.htm and another article in Russian at http://www.chornobyl.in.ua/red_forest_today.htm




Photo courtesy of www.chornobyl.in.ua

Video: Rabid Wolf at Chernobyl Nuclear Plant

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My friend Sergey recently posted two videos of a wolf encounter at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.  The wolf, which was apparently affected by rabies, tried repeatedly to enter a building at the Chernobyl Plant.

Here are the videos:





You can also read about wolves and the rabies problem in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone on Sergey's website, http://www.chornobyl.in.ua

Google translate version of wolves and rabies article
Destination Truth is a weekly television series on cable's SyFy channel that follows paranormal researcher Josh Gates around the world as he investigates claims of the supernatural. The next episode, scheduled to air on Wednesday, September 30, includes a ghost hunting investigation into the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. The Ghosts of Chernobyl segment will include a quick review of the evidence with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson from the popular SyFy series Ghost Hunters.

When viewing the episode's promo video (see below), it looks like they received permission to spend the night in Pripyat. This is confirmed when watching the minute and a half sneak peak clip (see below) on the Destination Truth website. I don't know how they managed to get that permission - it must be the power of television ... and the power of money. I'm sure they paid a hefty fee for the privilege.

So, what can we expect to see? In the sneak peak video, Gates says they are investigating claims of Pripyat being haunted. I've heard some people report feelings of being watched when walking past the city's hospital complex, but that's about it. If there really are ghosts or anything paranormal in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, I think they would most likely be around the Chernobyl Plant instead of in Pripyat.

Having watched some previous Destination Truth episodes, I think it's a safe bet that we'll see Gates and his crew overreact to something they find or encounter during their investigation. In the sneak peak video, you can see Gates getting into a panic about their geiger counter reading being too high within a room and having to immediately leave. I'm sure it's nothing more than an attempt to make viewers think they are in a truly dangerous situation. In reality, I doubt they encountered extremely high radiation levels. There's no way the Zone Administration would allow them to spend any length of time in a truly dangerous area.

After watching the sneak peak video, I'm wondering how much misinformation is going to be included in the Ghosts of Chernobyl episode. In the sneak peak, Gates refers to Pripyat as the home of the Chernobyl Nuclear Reactor, specifically saying the Chernobyl Reactor is inside Pripyat. As most of us know, Pripyat used to be home to the Chernobyl Plant workers, not the plant itself, which is located approximately 3 km south of the city limits. I'll admit it's a small detail, but still a basic fact.

As worrisome as it sounds, this episode may be worth watching for no other reason than to see video footage of Pripyat at night (they use infrared cameras). This is the first time anyone has been allowed to film in Pripyat at night, so it could be interesting. When watching the episode, don't believe for a minute they were left alone in Pripyat without having a guide with them. The guide may not be seen on camera, but there's no way they were allowed to spend a full night in Pripyat completely unsupervised.

I'll write more next week after watching the complete episode.

My commentary on the Ghosts of Chernobyl episode is now online

Promo Video



Here is the episode sneak peak:

I rarely post anything off topic on this website, but after watching the following videos, I had to post it. These videos are of of 24-year old Ukrainian artist Kseniya Simonova performing what is known as "sand animation."

Simonova uses a giant light box, dramatic music, her own imagination and "sand painting" skills. She first started making these types of drawings last year on the beach. She ended up on Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent" and won the competition.

After watching this, you'll understand why - I was completely dumbstruck and speechless. Amazing and breathtaking are words that just can't accurately describe this performance.









My friend Graham, who has been to Chernobyl two times, recently posted a link to this video on Facebook. It shows BBC reporter Stefan Gates reluctantly eating some soup and drinking some moonshine prepared by samosels living in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

It is often said that when traveling, you should never turn down food and drink offered by locals. In this case, these are poor people who grow their own food, are being hospitable and truly giving until it hurts. What would you do? Would you eat and drink what these samosels offered?




This second video shows Gates undergoing a full body scan that indicates he has above normal levels of radioactive contamination in his system. It seems to be a bit melodramatic:



From 1932-1933, approximately 6-8 million (perhaps even 12 million) Ukrainians perished from forced starvation. Also known as the Holodomor or Great Famine, this "forced" famine is considered by many to be a form of genocide. This catastrophe was a type of terrorism implemented as part of Josef Stalin's collectivism policies. In essence, these Soviet policies attempted to force independent farmers into collective farms.

My friend Damian Kolodiy, creator of the documentary film "The Orange Chronicles" about Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution, has posted the following excerpts of recently conducted interviews with survivors of the 1932-1933 forced famine genocide in Ukraine. He hopes to eventually turn his interview footage into a new documentary.


Video: New Pripyat Footage from 2009

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My friend Sergey has posted a new video filmed earlier this year in Pripyat. The 4 minute clip covers some well-known scenes such as the public swimming pool "Azure", and the amusement park, but also reveals some artwork or places not typically seen in photos or videos:



Sergey's Chernobyl Zone website has more detailed information about Pripyat, both then and now (this information is in English).
My friend Sergey just posted a new video of St. Michael's Church in the abandoned village of Krasnoe in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. This church was built around 1800 and was one of the most interesting stops during my two-day trip to Chernobyl in June 2006. The interior murals are just incredible and have stood the test of time extremely well.

Krasnoe is located 5.74 kilometers northeast of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, on the other side of the Pripyat River.